Written after scheduling surgery to my elbows


The ulna, the arm’s longest bone,

is capped with a curved bony eminence,

the olecranon. There the elbow


becomes a lever for the extensor muscles.

The prominent lip holds the humerus,

its companion bone. A third bone,


the radius, stretches from elbow to wrist.

A fibrous joint capsule surrounds the bones

in a synovial hinge like a cocoon.


The combination of a hinge with a ball-and-socket

gives the elbow its prowess:

flexion, extension, pronation, supination.


It’s really quite sentimental.

The elbow opens like a door, builds

a plinth for an altar where the ruins


will reassemble into prayer.

It is teaching us how to connect:

not a diminishing but a bundling.


A cup here; a path there;

a broken lock waiting

breathless for its healing key.